You are finally at the last leg of pregnancy. There are only a few weeks to go (finally!) before you give birth, and it’s very normal to feel excited and nervous at the same time. For many pregnant women, the third trimester of pregnancy is the most challenging and demanding. It will help a lot to know what will most likely happen during this stage!
Your body goes through a lot with one pregnancy. The changes start occurring during the first trimester and continues throughout the third trimester. You need to understand your body – and the third trimester symptoms – to know whether these changes are normal or not.
When does the third trimester start?
The third trimester begins in the 28th week or 7th month of pregnancy and lasts until you give birth to your baby. At this point, your baby has grown a lot bigger and may weigh from 6 to 9 pounds. With this amazingly fast growth rate, expect to see drastic physical changes and feel new sensations in your body, too.
Third Trimester Symptoms
The third trimester can be greatly different from the first two trimesters of pregnancy. It is normal to have a relatively easy pregnancy during the first and second trimesters and then be surprised by third trimester symptoms that take a toll on the body – or vice versa.
The burst of energy you felt during the second trimester could, unfortunately, be short-lived. Because the baby inside you is growing rapidly, the extra weight could cause you to feel tired and lethargic. This, along with anxiety that normally goes with pregnancy, can cause your energy levels to plummet, which is why it is very important to have enough rest and eat a balanced diet.
If the frequent urination you experienced during the first trimester was caused by your hormones, this time, it’s physical pressure. Your baby is growing, pushing against your bladder, which causes you to urinate more often. This extra pressure may also cause you to leak, so don’t forget to do your Kegels!
There may be changes with your breasts, too. Many women report having enlarged breasts toward the end of pregnancy, growing by as much as 2 pounds. If your due date is close, you may also see fluid leaking from your breasts. This is most probably your colostrum, and the leak is a sign that your body is preparing to nourish your child.
It is also normal to see more vaginal discharge at this point of pregnancy, especially when your due date is fast approaching. This thick and clear discharge is your mucus plug, and seeing this is a sign that your cervix is already starting to dilate. This means that your labor may begin anytime soon. Be prepared for regular contractions and, quite possibly, your water breaking.
Third Trimester Pains
Braxton Hicks Contractions
Not to be confused with actual labor contractions, Braxton Hicks Contractions are mild contractions that you may feel in your abdomen. These contractions may occur after exercise or after sex. Unlike labor contractions, Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular and can be seen as your body’s way to prepare for labor.
Note: If your contractions are getting regular and more intense, your labor is likely starting. Inform your doctor or health practitioner right away!
There are two factors to blame for the back pain you may feel toward the end of your pregnancy. First is your and your baby’s weight gain, which take a toll on your back. The second factor is a hormone called relaxin, which is responsible for loosening the tissues and ligaments in your back and pelvic area in preparation for labor.
During the last stretch of your pregnancy, your uterus may push your stomach upward, which can cause acid reflux and heartburn. A hormone called progesterone also relaxes the muscles of your esophagus, causing your stomach to release acid into the former. To relieve heartburn, eat several small meals throughout the day. It is also helpful to avoid spicy and acidic foods.
If you never had hemorrhoids before, you may be in for a big surprise. Hemorrhoids acquired during pregnancy is relatively common. They are caused by pressure brought about by your weight gain. They can also be caused by an increase of blood circulation, which is also normal during pregnancy. Increase your fluid and fiber intake to minimize the chances of developing hemorrhoids.
Along with third trimester symptoms and third trimester pains, which are all physical, this stage can also be an emotional time. If you thought you were hormonal and emotional during the first trimester, wait until the last trimester.
During the third trimester of pregnancy, because your baby’s arrival is so near, you may find yourself panicking, thinking that you’re not yet prepared to handle the new responsibility. You will also be looking forward to a due date, and it is possible that you may see this date come and go without any signs of labor.
The important thing is to stay positive and not let your stress and disappointment overcome you!
*This blog post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, pediatrician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have.